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Therapeutic Approaches



Jungian Depth Psychology



Among the central concepts of Jungian psychology is individuation—the lifelong psychological process of differentiation of the self out of each individual's conscious and unconscious elements. Jung considered it to be the main task of human development. He created some of the best known psychological concepts, including synchronicityarchetypal phenomena, the collective unconscious, the psychological complex, and extraversion and introversion.

The term ‘depth psychology’  has become used by Freudians and Jungians to indicate those psychologies that orient themselves around the idea of the "unconscious."

Carl Gustav Jung , July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961, was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy and religious studies. As a notable research scientist based at the famous Burghölzli hospital, under Eugen Bleuler, he came to the attention of the Viennese founder of psychoanalysisSigmund Freud. The two men conducted a lengthy correspondence and collaborated on an initially joint vision of human psychology. Freud saw in the younger man the potential heir he had been seeking to carry on his "new science" of psychoanalysis. Jung's researches and personal vision, however, made it impossible for him to bend to his older colleague's dogma and a breach became inevitable. This break was to have historic as well as painful personal repercussions that have lasted to this day. Jung was also an artist, craftsman and builder as well as a prolific writer. Many of his works were not published until after his death and some are still awaiting publication.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Psychodynamic Theories

Psychodynamic Theories are descendants of the original psychoanalytic approach developed by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s. Dr. Freud was one of the first "psychotherapists" (professionals who treat mental problems with a talk therapy) and was nothing if not influential. Freud introduced the idea that the mind is divided into multiple parts, including the irrational and impulsive Id (a representation of primal animal desires), the judgmental super-ego (a representation of society inside the mind), and the rational ego which attempts to bridge the divide between the other two parts. He popularized the idea that the mind has conscious and unconscious parts which can conflict with one another, producing a phenomena called repression (a state where you are unaware of certain troubling motives or wishes or desires). His basic therapeutic idea was that mental illness was caused by mental tensions created by repression, and that mental health could be restored by making repressed knowledge conscious. As it turns out, reality is more complicated than this. Talking about your problems and coming to understand them doesn't necessarily make them go away, but it can be very helpful nevertheless.


Many ideas from psychoanalysis turn out to be important, including the idea of repression (and the related idea of dissociation) which has developed into the study of coping strategies and defense mechanisms (ways that people attempt to manage or ward off knowing about stressful information). One branch of modern psychodynamic theory (sometimes called "object relations" theory) is much less concerned about struggles between parts of the mind, and much more concerned about how people understand and represent their relationships with other people. The "objects" in object relations theory are representations of people (how others are experienced, represented and remembered by the person doing the objectification). Object relational therapists note that people's early relationships often set the tone that later relationships will take. This occurs in part because of a phenomena called transference, and also because what you experience early in life seems "normal" to you and you become in some ways drawn to new relationships that help you replicate that original "normal" feeling. This tendency works out well when early relationships are healthy, but very poorly when they are disturbed. People whose early relationships involve abuse or neglect often end up not feeling quite comfortable in later relationships unless those relationships recreate in some fashion those early abusive or neglectful dynamics. Transference occurs when people use representations of older relationships as a means of jump-starting their understandings of new relationships. When an older relationship has been "transferred" onto a newer one, the older relationship will be the point of comparison against which the newer one is judged. The person doing the transferring may read characteristics or tendencies into the newer relationship that aren't there, simply because they were there in the older original relationship. For example, a young man who has had a difficult and distant relationship with his father, might generally react angrily towards other adult males, but not really have insight as to why he does this. He might end up sabotaging career prospects by alienating potential employers. Object relational therapists might help this man by making him aware of his prejudicial pattern, helping him to process his anger feelings in the moment (should he attack the therapist), and by offering a new model of what a relationship can be like (e.g., trusting, trustworthy, non-abusive) which the young man can then transfer to other relationships.


The key insights to take home from psychodynamic theory are: 1) that the mind is not so straightforward as it might seem, but instead may play tricks on you (e.g., you may end up repressing knowledge because it is disturbing to you), and 2) that your early relationships set the tone for your adult ones. Psychodynamic techniques are designed to help you become more conscious of unconscious habits, patterns and preferences laid down early in your life that may not serve you as an adult. As you become more conscious, you may gain the motivation to change those nolonger-working habits and tendencies.


By Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. and Jolyn Wells-Moran, Ph.D.





Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy



Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. For example, a person who is depressed may have the belief, "I’m worthless," and a person with a phobia may have the belief, "I am in danger." While the person in distress likely holds such beliefs with great conviction, with a therapist’s help, the individual is encouraged to view such beliefs as hypotheses rather than facts and to test out such beliefs by running experiments. Furthermore, those in distress are encouraged to monitor and log thoughts that pop into their minds (called "automatic thoughts") in order to enable them to determine what patterns of biases in thinking may exist and to develop more adaptive alternatives to their thoughts. People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be active, problem-focused, and goal-directed.


Studies of CBT have demonstrated its usefulness for a wide variety of problems, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, and psychotic disorders. While a full description of the treatment and presenting problems for which it is useful is beyond the scope of this brief overview, a brief summary of several treatments will be presented.


CBT has been shown to be as useful as antidepressant medication for individuals with depression and is superior in preventing relapse. Patients receiving CBT for depression are encouraged to schedule activities in order to increase the amount of pleasure they experience. In addition, depressed patients learn how to restructure negative thought patterns in order to interpret their environment in a less biased way. CBT for Bipolar Disorder is used as an adjunct to medication treatment and focuses on psychoeducation about the disorder and understanding cues and triggers for relapse. Studies indicate that patients who receive CBT in addition to treatment with medication have better outcomes than patients who do not receive CBT as an adjunctive treatment.


CBT is also a useful treatment for anxiety disorders. Patients who experience persistent panic attacks are encouraged to test out beliefs they have related to such attacks, such as specific fears related to bodily sensations, and to develop realistic responses to such beliefs. This treatment is very effective for those who experience such problems. Patients who experience obsessions and compulsions are guided to expose themselves to what they fear and beliefs surrounding their fears are identified and modified. The same is true for people with phobias, including phobias of animals or phobias of evaluation by others (termed Social Phobia). Those in treatment are exposed to what they fear and beliefs that have served to maintain such fears are targeted for modification.


While the above summary is certainly not comprehensive, it provides a brief overview of the principles of CBT and how it applies to various presenting problems. CBT’s focus on thoughts and beliefs are applicable to a wide array of issues. Because CBT has excellent empirical support, it has achieved wide popularity both for therapists and consumers.


Reviewed by Debbie M. Warman, Ph.D. and Aaron T. Beck, M.D., June 2003 






Family Systems Theory 

Family Systems theory was created during the middle of the 20th century when the idea of ecology was borrowed from biology and applied to the study of human problems. Ecological thinking teaches that individual creatures cannot be adequately understood when studied in isolation, but rather must be appreciated within their network of relationships to the other creatures around them if their lives are to make sense. Individual creatures depend upon their network of relationships with other creatures (animal and vegetable) for their survival; This is apparent in the relationship between flowers and bees, where bees use the flowers as a source of food, and the flowers depend on the inter-flower traffic that the bees provide to spread their pollen and insure healthy genetic diversity within the flower community. These two species are interconnected and cannot be understood in isolation. If the bees become damaged, the flowers suffer, and vice versa. When any part of such a network is altered or damaged, it affects all the other parts of that network, for all are interconnected. 


The Family Systems insight is that what is true about flowers and bees is also true of human relationships. People live in families and social groupings, and depend upon one another for the means that insure their mutual survival, including (as Maslow has taught us) food clothing and shelter, but also safety, belonging and social support. Family members are interconnected: Every person within a family has a role to play within the life of the family as a whole. Alteration or damage to one family member affects the entire family, for all are interconnected. 

Family Systems theory's ecological view of the family makes it very different than conventional psychological theories. Where other psychological theories view problems as things that occur within individuals, Family Systems theory takes an ecological approach, viewing problems as things that occur between people. They tend to see individual problems as instances of larger relationship problems occurring within families (or within communities or society). This means that when a family member becomes depressed, the effect of that depression are not localized within the depressed person, but rather affect all family members. It is thus a family problem, not an individual one. The depression may even be a consequence of some other family problem. For example, a mother's "empty nest" depression (occurring when her last child leaves home) may result as much from the radical alteration of her day to day family life as from any chemical problem she may have. 

Family Systems theorists pay careful attention to the boundaries between family members, because such boundaries are exactly where problems tend to manifest. A boundary is a sort of psychological perimeter and definition that people draw around themselves, and around particular relationships they are involved in. Boundaries mark off where one person or group ends and another begins. Healthy boundaries act as containers that keep things apart that need to stay apart, and also as roles that help people to know how to act. The boundary around the family as a whole helps family members know who is a member and who is not, for instance. The boundary around the parents helps them keep their adult sexuality and communication apart from their children. The boundary around each child and adult within the family helps each family member keep some secrets that are theirs alone. 

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